The number one way to save money on an Orlando/Disney vacation!
I often get asked about how to save money on a trip to Disney World, and for good reason. It is an expensive undertaking, no matter how you look at it. Airfare, park tickets and other attractions, accommodations, food and dining, spending money and souvenirs; these can all add up very quickly. I don’t mean to discourage anyone from taking such a trip – the money you spend can provide incredible value in entertainment and experiences – but if your budget is a concern, there are some ways to keep the expense to a minimum.
Note: This is one of those situations where I find travel writers simply assume that the only way to visit Disney World is to stay in an on-site Disney Resort Hotel. You may have noticed in some of my other posts what a pet peeve this is for me. This really drives me crazy when the writer is trying to suggest ways to keep the cost of the trip down. The best way to do this is to NOT stay on-site, but to instead get a great vacation rental. (I may know someone who can hook you up…)
What most people don’t understand is that staying in a vacation rental is not necessarily going to be the greatest source of savings for you on a Disney World trip. It very well could be, but this depends upon the size of your group. If you have to get more than one room because, for example, Disney Value Resort rooms only sleep four people, then a vacation rental is going to save you a whole bunch of money, but if you only need a single room, a vacation rental really isn’t necessarily the best place to try to lower your budget. If the amenities and quality of your accommodations are important, and you want more than a typical hotel room, a vacation rental will always be your best value – no question!
Now, if you only need a single room, a vacation rental still makes sense, because even if you are spending the same amount of money, a vacation rental will give you so much more than a hotel room, that it still becomes a no-brainer. The value that the vacation rental provides is, quite frankly, overwhelming. Now if you are one of those who think you may miss out on something by not staying at an on-site resort because you won’t have the ‘Disney magic’ in your accommodations, read this post before you let this idea factor into your decision.
The number one way to save money on an Orlando/Disney vacation is to stay in a well-equipped vacation rental, but not because a vacation rental will cost you less money. Depending upon which vacation rental you choose, it may actually cost you a bit more than a hotel room per night (but unlikely more than a Disney hotel room because their rates are so high).
It actually is what the vacation rental provides you with that will allow you to save big money and significantly lower your holiday budget. Have you figured out what it is?
There is really only one way to make a big dent in your Disney vacation budget! You can’t save much on Disney tickets, because they are fairly tightly controlled by Disney, and they simply don’t lower the prices on tickets ever. (The best thing you can do is buy your tickets from our preferred ticket supplier, who guarantee the lowest price. Not only do they guarantee the lowest price, they deliver the lowest price. Believe me, I’ve checked!) You can and should get the very best price you can on your airline tickets and rental car which you will need to get around the area. (I’ll write another blog post about how to do that.)
The biggest way you can save money on a Florida Disney Vacation is this; figure out how to keep your food costs down.
The simplest way to do this is to avoid all of the tourist traps for food… like food in the parks and the hundreds of restaurants in the area, and to eat like the locals do! Buy your own groceries and prepare food in your own kitchen. But how do you do this in a hotel room? You can’t really (a bar fridge and a microwave really won’t cut it), so you rent a vacation rental home for the same price as a good hotel room, providing you with a complete and well-equipped full-size kitchen, plus you enjoy all of the other exceptional benefits that a vacation home rental brings.
The money you save on food alone can be enough to cover the cost of renting a vacation home!
In another post, I explain how we kept food costs under control when we were a young family on vacation in Florida and money was tight. There is also information (at time of writing) about what the parks will allow you to bring in, and not. Check it out!